Some days all I can do is wonder to myself, why? So many questions without answers, so many problems I can’t seem to find solutions to. Some days I just can’t. No matter what I do, I just can’t. Do you have those kinds of days too? How do you get through them?
Sadly, I am learning the result of accommodating everyone in my life. I have spent so many years trying to keep the peace and make everyone else happy that finally I have lost my own voice. I cannot even hear it anymore and I can’t help but wonder if it even tries to speak. Everything has become a negotiation. Just this morning I wanted the family to go for breakfast and everyone had an attitude or conditions. Being a mom is not always easy and often times it is downright hurtful. I wait all week for a tiny slice of time for us to be together but someone always throws a stick in the spoke until the bike has a tragic accident. It’s broken and today I feel sad and broken but instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself, I will go out and do something that makes me feel good. The others can stay home and be in good company with their cell phones, computers, attitudes and conditions and I will simply carry on. No sense throwing myself in the middle and crying victim. I am in charge of my own destiny and sometimes it is necessary to leave everyone behind and follow on my own path. As for being a woman, I have to stop using that as an excuse. I swear it is almost innate to make everyone feel important and included but you know what I’ve realized? It’s necessary to include myself in that behavior as well. Time to find my voice and make it strong again. Time for some conditions of my own. Time to make some changes starting right now. Wish me luck.
I saw this meme a few weeks ago and was reminded of it last night. I was trying to sleep but I could feel that old, familiar anxiety that shakes me just enough to keep me awake at night. The storm was brewing outside and the crack of thunder nearly made me jump out of my skin. I didn’t realize how on edge I was until I noticed the storm inside of me was much larger than the one going on outside my window. Sometimes anxiety strikes at the oddest moments. I had been a difficult week with me being a continuous advocate for my son at school. My daughter had her last and most important swim meet of her senior year and I was trying to remain calm underneath the palpable chaos. The stronger and louder the noise became outside, the more I felt at ease. I had no idea the storm inside of me was so great until I could compare it with the one blowing hail up against my window. Calm down Kim, I thought to myself. Feeling anxious cannot become your new norm. I took a few deep breaths and let the sound of the rain falling on the house slowly put me at peace. It’s so important to check in with yourself from time to time and put down what isn’t yours to carry. When you become accustomed to carrying more than your share, you forget the relief you feel when your hands are finally free. That was my last thought before I finally drifted off to sleep.
Mad doesn’t even come close to what I was feeling tonight. I was trapped in the car while my husband was in Home Depot, stuck with the feelings that were burning me up inside. I had this incredible urge to rip open my skin and step out of myself so I could escape the rage that was building inside of me. I am feeling tired and worn from my son pushing me past my limit to be a decent human being. His lack of concern for anything leaves me completely concerned about everything and by the time Sunday evening rolls around, I have reached the end.
We picked him up from church a few hours later and he got in the car like nothing ever happened. He leaned into the front seat, “Hi.” Just the sound of his voice made my heart race. I wanted to continue the argument we were having before I dropped him off. I sinking into the depths of hell and my instinct was to grab his arm and drag him through with me. I took a deep breath. “Let it go Kim.” All my life I had heard the phrase misery loves company and I was fighting the urge to invite him over. Would rehashing the unhashable do any good? A tear rolled down my face. Sometimes the desperation I feel as a parent weighs on me heavily. How do I reach him?That tiny voice in my head whispered quietly, speak softly and maybe he will listen. Yes, soften. Start with your voice and your words and heart will follow. Sometimes I just have to sit long enough with my feelings until the intensity comes down. Acting on feelings that are inflated beyond containment is unhealthy for everyone involved.
Tonight I pray, not that God changes my situation but that he changes my perception of it. I pray for the strength and courage to continue to reach out to my son regardless of how many times he pushes me away. I pray that I never give up on him even when the hurt gets hard. I pray for a way to quiet the anger that sometimes builds a wall between myself and the people I love. Tomorrow will be a better day. Tomorrow offers hope to try again.
There are days I get so angry that I don’t see in myself what I so readily see in others. I preach about building others up and at the same time I fail with my own child. How often do I tell him what he gets wrong? How often do I bring up a conversation about something that has resulted in his failure? How many times can a kid hear, you are a screw up and you can’t do anything right? How many times can you beat a kid down before he just stops trying to get back up? How many times can you say your best is never good enough? Is this the only voice he ever hears? Could it be? Here is a perfect example in this email that I received yesterday from his teacher.
On Quiz #3 Chase didn’t include the reasoning and evidence part of the explanation. He touched on one of the three but did not explain why those results occurred due to molecular level interactions (which is the standard). On the second question he did a great job at explaining why water had a stronger surface tension than ethanol however that is not what the question asked; the question was about why ethanol had a weaker surface tension than water.
The result? A 45. Call me crazy but isn’t explaining why water has a stronger surface tension than ethanol the same as explaining why ethanol has weaker surface tension than water?
Am I like this teacher too rigid and closed off to see his right in this so called wrong? Am I more focused on proving myself right than allowing him the opportunity to be right?
So many questions. So much guilt. So much struggle with trying to be a decent parent. Maybe I am too hard. Maybe the teacher is too hard. Maybe the world is becoming hard. Maybe parenting is too hard.
Lord, help me to remember how important my voice is and to use that voice to make my child feel good about himself. Help me see more opportunities to commend him and hold my tongue when I have the urge to criticize. Please help me make him feel more like an A instead of a failing grade. Take my hand and guide me in raising this child and elevating his self esteem. I know I cannot do this alone.
I was that parent with the aching back, sitting on stiff bleachers Saturday morning. We do what we have to do for our kids from the time they are born. Spending a weekend at a swim meet cheering my daughter on seemed easy compared to some of the other responsibilities required of me. The thing about parenting is this…we may look like we have it all together but on the inside we are falling apart. As the words of the National Anthem echoed in the natatoriun, that sick feeling I get in response to nerves started to take hold of my stomach. This would be the last regional meet to decide if she went onto states. Friday’s meet resulted in some slow times and I was dying inside to get this session of finals over with once and for all. I saw her step on the blocks and my heart sank. I held my breath as I watched her fly across the pool. I waited for that ball to drop. So many other times she had been out ahead but this time, something was different. This time I watched her fight through the pain. I saw the pure desire and will to win carry her across the water at a speed I had never seen before. For years she had swam in someone else’s shadow but that would not be the case today. Today was her time to shine. The amount of time it took me to focus on the scoreboard seemed like hours. There was her name with a big 1st place glowing like a blazing fire next to it. I could barely choke back the tears. I was so proud of her because I have watched her work endless hours over a span of 12 years. This was her moment, the payoff and just thinking back on it brings a smile to my face. Those bleachers weren’t so bad after all. It was an amazing day.
On Thursday, my daughter will turn eighteen. How blessed I am to have had the opportunity to hear someone call me mom for that long. We celebrated her birthday over the weekend. The ride home was quiet. Her cake sat on my lap like a weight hanging heavy on my soul. Where did the time go? The same little girl who clung onto me for dear life at preschool was ready to let go and run. Would she even look back? My tears escaped onto the cake box, each one a reminder of how much I was going to miss her. Each one aching, begging for just a little more time. Am I ready for this? Is she ready? Eighteen. How can it be. I close my eyes and I see her little pigtails blowing in the wind. For a moment, she is two, sitting in a field of wildflowers and time stands still. I see her little hand move through the colors. A purple and orange tapestry of pure beauty with her sitting in the middle of it. The symbolism smiles back at me. Why didn’t I see it before? She is my precious, unpredictable wildflower, growing at her own pace and in her own precious time unbound by anyone’s limits. Her spirit, her beauty could not be contained. I go to the place I keep that picture. I drink it in, desperate to taste the day one time more. My heart breaks a little as I study every detail of her tiny face. For that single moment, I am there in that field pointing my camera at her sweet little face while the flowers tickle my bare feet. In my next breath she is standing before me, eighteen and I think again how blessed I am to be her mom. I remind myself quietly, savor every moment. You can’t get a single minute back.